WordCamp St. Louis May 14-15, 2016 Review

Photo: A Stock A Day

Day 1

WordCamp_SignThis my third consecutive year attending WordCamp St. Louis and the conference continues to improve and get better each year. Last year I attended WordCamp St. Louis 2015 which is the year they introduced Kids Camp. My son would randomly ask me about WordCamp leading up to this year’s conference so I knew we would be attending again. More on Kids Camp later.

Prior to attending the conference I subscribed to email updates on stlouis.wordcamp.org/2016. It was nice to get updates and learn about each speaker. Brava to Nile Flores (blondishnet) on her blogging work to keep everyone informed. The website also lists the Attendees and a link to everyone’s Twitter profiles. The one improvement I would like to see here is to display a Twitter follow button to make it a time saver when following attendees.

WordPress_Job_BoardAgain this year the conference was 2 days with Saturday being the main conference and Sunday was the Community Day with a Kids Camp. The tracks were broken up by developer and user with a developer/user round table and keynote speaker in the after lunch. There was a job board that quickly filled up and that was great to see.

After a super quick and easy registration I entered the main auditorium where 300+ WordPress junkies gathered. I heard several people again this year asking when Room 300 is while wondering the hallway. Room 300 is actually the main auditorium and I think the organizers should consider adding that additional label to the signage maybe some thing like Room 300 (Main Auditorium). Yes, I realize it is announced but attendees are still getting confused on that one.

The first session I attended was Plugin Development 101 by Chris Flannagan and I thought he did a great job. It was a very informative talk about building your own from plugins scratch. Chris recommended using JetBrains PhpStorm for an IDE which I am currently evaluating. The slides are available in PDF on his website and I recommend checking it out if you are new to plugin development.

In between the morning sessions I had a nice chat with Jeff Wayland who is a project manager for Vervocity Interactive in Quincy, IL. It is nice to hear from folks who are making a living with WordPress. It sounds like business is strong. I think WordCamps are a great way of networking.

Up next was Brian Hilliard. Brian is a popular speaker and author of the best-selling book Networking Like a Pro! I am really glad I got to meet Brian. He was a very seasoned speaker and had everyone’s attention and asking good questions. Brian recommended a Norwegian TV political thriller called Occupied which is Now Streaming on Netflix: A Fantastic Political Thriller on Climate Change. After giving us the recommendation he asked if that was a sell or something else and then encourages everyone to approach sales more in this style. It was very interesting to say the least.

During lunch I popped into the Happiness Bar which is a gathering place where attendees can have their WordPress questions answered by the experts. There I met Alex Miller who helped me out with a pesky configuration error I am currently experiencing on a project. We did not solve the problem but Alex was very helpful and I really like his troubleshooting style.

WordCamp_Chris_LimaAfter lunch it was time for the keynote from Chris Lema. Chris did a fantastic talk on The future of WordPress: five years out which I really enjoyed. He talked a lot about community and where WordPress will be years from now.  My only wish was that he opened it up for Q & A at the end. I had a prior commitment in the afternoon so I had to bail.

Day 2

Aidan_WordCampAs I mentioned at the beginning of this review there was a Kids Camp this year so asked my son Aidan if he wanted to check it out and he agreed.

Chris Koerner and Eric Juden did an amazing job again this year leading a class of about a dozen people. There were several girls and boys aged 8-12 and we spent the morning learning how to build a WordPress site and had a lot of fun doing it.  My son Aidan had a great time. Here is what he said last year and I asked him again this what he thought and he reiterated…

It was really fun at the Kids Camp 2016. We learned how to make a basic website. I knew most of it already since I’ve messed around with WordPress with my dad before.  But it was fun learning the stuff I didn’t already know like how to embed a YouTube video into a post/page.  – Aidan Jenney age 10.

Afterwards we were rewarded with delicious pizza from Pi  Pizzeria and the world famous Fitz’s Root Beer!

Hats off to all of the local and national WordPress folks that made WordCamp 2016 a great success.

Related content: WordCamp St. Louis 2016 Review

Further reading: stlouis.wordcamp.org

https://2017.stlouis.wordcamp.org/

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Author: njenney

I am currently a Senior Quality Assurance Specialist for an awesome digital marketing agency called Ansira. On a daily basis I work on a custom built state of the art marketing automation, ad builder and asset management called Distributor. I strive to be a helpful technologist and second tier support for the Digital Marketing Resources group. I created the position of Google Analytics administrator for over 100 custom B2B websites. Use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to perform Content Management on dozens of websites built for the automotive, retail, insurance and global consumer products industries. Try to utilize Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio daily to write queries and monitor our systems. Enjoy helping people in general. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Specialties: I am particularly interested in web-based software development, support and quality. I have an affinity for open source software and try to be actively involved in communities including but not limited to WordPress and ResourceSpace. For the last couple of years I have been attending WordCamp St. Louis which I really enjoy. In my free time I like to hang out with my family and friends and get out to a concert when I can to listen to some good music. If you are wanting to get turned on to some new music you should check out the Internet Archive or  Speakers in Code. The little time I have left over I try to keep active on social media (hint: click links below) and be involved with some sort of community whether physical or virtual. In May of 2016 I launched an Android app, website and newsletter called A Stock A Day - Not Your Father's Stock Photography. Once in a while I like to have an occasional beer. Feel free to friend me on Untappd - Drink Socially. "You Had Me At Hello" is the tagline from this site and a reminder to myself to talk to everyone which is advice my father gave me. The line was lifted from the movie Jerry Maguire which is one of my favorite movies from director Cameron Crowe. Recently I open-sourced some photos from a trip I took last year to  Saugatuck, Michigan. Check them out on Flickr and  Unsplash. Thanks for looking. njenney Related: Contact Me